More and more bars join the sustainable drinking revolution; from no straw policy, zero-waste cocktails, to in-house spirits production and re-using leftovers. Alcohol and mixers producers are also increasingly environmentally and socially conscious.
While some industry leading bars and restaurants are already working on leaving less of a mark on the environment, you too can start with small steps and help the Earth by drinking wiser! We’ve compiled a small list of (often obvious, yet forgotten) things we can all do to push the drinks industry further down the sustainable path – after all it all starts with you; what and how you drink it!
1. Chill your mixers. And gin, if you have space. You’ll need less ice and time to chill it!
2. Make your own ice. Think about the factory, plastic packaging, shipment… After all, aren’t we really the proverbial Eskimos, with freezers and water at home that buy frozen water from a factory? If you’re not sure if you should go for silicon, plastic or steel – look at the pros and cons here.
3. Don’t buy water (and if you must, go for glass bottle). Same premise, buy a water filter, soda maker, whatever rocks your boat. Carry a reusable bottle with you. Reduce plastic, carbon footprint, waste, efforts to carry litres and litres of water home. Read about five myths we tell ourselves to rationalize buying bottled water – debunked here.
4. Drop the straws and paper napkins. For home use, get a set of washable metal, glass or bamboo straws. Use a cloth instead of paper towels, and re-usable coasters. Join the #refusethestraws initiative and say no to straws when served in bars. Think of turtles (the watch is not for faint-hearted).
5. Pick local ingredients – and if you can, grow your own. While making your own lemon juice from garden-grown lemons might be a little far-fetched, basil, rosemary and mint can easily be grown in your kitchen. Buying local growers’ fruit and vegetables will also not help small businesses growth in your area, but reduce the carbon footprint from the transportation of goods from the other side of the world.
6. Recycle. Reuse glass bottles, sort out your rubbish, give a shot to once unsexy composting. Choose mixers in glass bottles instead of plastic (and read the Guardian’s guide to going plastic bottle-free).
7. Think about it when out. Support bars and initiatives that focus on sustainability, ask questions where they get their ingredients from, don’t take straws. After all it all comes from the consumers’ demand for more ethical watering holes. Londoners have it easier with our guide to leading sustainable bars here.
8. Choose what you drink wisely – and don’t forget about the mixer! Support smaller artisanal producers, sustainable solutions, brands that give back. Watch out for animal testing, still in place for some soft drinks manufacturers, and as for tonic also unethical harvesting of cinchona (quinine). Fever-Tree is a great champion against it, also using no preservatives or cheap aromatics used by some competitors. Our Hamburg neighbours, Lemonaid and ChariTea, besides being organic and Fair Trade certified give back to less fortunate with every bottle sold – up to date spent € 2,000,000 for social project in developing regions.
9. Spread the word. Speak to your friends, your bartenders, your local off-licence team. Let’s all drink wiser this year!